The Lamassu Bitcoin Machine: An Operator’s Perspective

The Bitcoin ATM Boom

Recently, CoinATMRadar announced the world’s 200th Bitcoin ATM has been installed. Today, that number sits at 207. Lamassu has a substantial chunk of that market, with 78 machines installed. More than twice their main competitor (Robocoin with 35). Which isn’t surprising: they manufacture a solid and flexible machine. As an operator of the Lamassu Bitcoin Machine, we thought this would be an appropriate time to provide an unsolicited review of the Lamassu Bitcoin Machine and our experience with Lamassu.

XBTeller selected Lamassu for our first machine for a variety of reasons:

  • The price tag is reasonable (we paid around 8.5 bitcoins for ours back in January)
  • They don’t have a commission splitting scheme in place
  • The machine looks great and can be easily incorporated into a variety of settings
  • It’s size allows for flexibility and changing locations without too much trouble

Our Lamassu arrived within 13 weeks of the preorder (inside their stated delivery window at that point). The shipping from Portugal to Denver took under 1 week, and was paid for in bitcoin. The machine arrived in a wooden crate reminiscent of Indiana Jones and The Radars of the Lost Ark (badass). As many in the Bitcoin space will tell you, preorders can be nightmarish. This one was not. We we’re kept in the loop as our machine neared completion, and it was delivered in perfect condition.

The Lamassu is a champ

XBTeller went live with our first Colorado location just about one month ago. Our Lamassu machine has been on nearly 24/7 since then. Over the past couple of software releases the Lamassu development team has delivered a very stable solution. Well done guys!

They have terrific operator support (without the commission splitting of some other manufactures), an incredibly smooth user experience, and best of all a commitment to open development. The admin side of the Lamassu offers very easy set up and maintenance. And while it doesn’t yet have all the features we’d love to see, they are in the works. This highlights the benefits of  the open source environment. Our needs and wants for the admin side maybe different from other operators. It’s great to have the flexibility to implement them ourselves. In fact, we already have a number of things we’d like to contribute to the open-source project (mostly on the admin side).

Customer Feedback

We have yet to hear a negative review of the Lamassu from a customer. Chalk that up to its simple operation.

In one customer’s message to us, they wrote:

“…Lamassu atm couldn’t be easier to use! That should help you guys.”

We couldn’t agree more. From the customer’s perspective the Lamassu is the solution to problems associated with buying bitcoins in other ways. People are consistently thrilled to receive coins to their wallet seconds after inserting bills. No long verification times while your bank account is linked to Coinbase. No more wire transfers to the big bitcoin exchanges, and the waste of time and money that comes along with it.

Many people who have used other bitcoin ATMs have been turned off by the required verification process: ID scans, biometrics,  text message authentication, and the list goes on. We decided to handle our KYC obligations separate from the machine’s operation. That way, customers still have the same fast and easy experience buying bitcoin. Still, Lamassu has shown a commitment to making the live’s of US-based operators easier. They have been working to integrate an identity verification module to the machine that we are eager to take for a spin.

Issues?

Since we placed our machine in the field, the only issues we’ve experienced have been connectivity related (not a fault of the lamassu at all). We use a dedicated wi-fi hotspot to interact with the network and they aren’t known for providing the most reliable connection. Still, only one brief instance of customer-facing downtime has been caused by a cold hotspot. Then the lamassu celebrates its triumphant return to the network with a bright flash of the same scanner used to capture bitcoin address QR codes.

A tip to other operators: AT&T hotspots work well. Verizon’s don’t work with the Lamassu at all.

More Lamassu?

Yes, Please! XBTeller doesn’t have an exclusive relationship with any particular bitcoin ATM manufacturer. While we are looking forward to expanding our fleet with a variety of machines, Lamassus will likely make up the majority of it. A big thanks to everyone at Lamassu, and a special thanks to Neal for the outstanding operator support.

Finally, the “fiat to bitcoin in under 15 seconds” claim holds entirely true, with one caveat: it could take a little bit longer if you have a lot of bills to feed into the machine. At about one second per bill, buying $1000 worth of bitcoin doesn’t take very long at all.